Family Was Awarded $18 Million for Deadly Drunk Driving Crash

In June of 2011, Jonathan Palacios spent an evening drinking at two drinking establishments in Corpus Christi, Texas, Cabaret and Pocket’s Billiards.

Approximately seven minutes after being escorted out of the bar, Palacios crashed head-on into another car, driven by 18-year-old Bryant Hernandez. Both drivers were killed in the crash.

A Texas jury of three women and three men found an establishment negligent and grossly negligent for overseeing its customer who subsequently caused a deadly head-on collision.

It was alleged that approximately seven minutes after a liquor-serving establishment escorted patron Jonathan Palacios to his car, he got into his car and drove in the wrong direction on Texas State Highway 358 in Corpus Christi, striking the car driven by 18-year-old Hernandez head-on. Palacios was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.24 at the time of his death, which is three times the legal limit for intoxication in Texas.

The Hernandez family sued the bars claiming that they served Palacios too much alcohol.

The jury deliberated for only five hours, awarding the parents of 18-year-old Hernandez $18,750,000. The jury found the defendant liable for serving alcohol to Palacios when it was obvious he was intoxicated, then putting him into his car, leading to the fatal crash minutes later.

During the trial, friends of Palacios testified about a night of drinking that included rounds of beer and shots.  Trial evidence showed the Palacios was served at least 17 drinks and that he was showing numerous signs of intoxication. A former bartender at Pockets Billiards said that her bosses told her to continue serving Palacios.

The lawsuit alleged that a bouncer from one of the bars eventually kicked Palacios out of the bar, and escorted him to his car. That decision by the defendant proved deadly. In just a couple of miles from the bar, Palacios struck Hernandez’s vehicle and both young men died in the crash at 10:15 pm on Friday, June 24, 2011.

If the bouncer escorted him out of the bar for intoxication, how could they consciously let him get behind the wheel of a car? Do you think the bar was negligent in the death of these two young drivers? Feel free to comment on this blog post.  If you or someone you know has been injured or lost a life as a result of a drunk driver or liquor-serving establishment, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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